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  • Washington Highlights

    Members Reintroduce Bill to Strengthen Health Care Workforce

    Tannaz Rasouli, Sr. Director, Public Policy & Strategic Outreach

    Reps. Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-Calif.); David McKinley (R-W.Va.); Mark Takano (D-Calif.); Filemon Vela (D-Texas); Ruben Hinojosa (D-Texas); and Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) Feb. 13 introduced legislation to strengthen the nation’s health care workforce.

    The Building a Health Care Workforce for the Future Act (H.R. 1006) addresses the growing need for primary and specialty care providers in underserved areas and includes a number of provisions designed to address the top factors that graduating medical students consistently cite as affecting their specialty choice.

    In particular, the legislation:

    • Establishes under Title VII of the Public Health Service Act a program to increase longitudinal mentorship opportunities for entering medical students who express an interest in primary care, as well as a program to identify effective role models in primary care through a nationwide network of primary care mentors and resources.
    • Authorizes grants to health professions programs to promote educational innovations in priority areas, such as chronic disease management and integrating primary care, public and population health, and health promotion.
    • Commissions a study by the Institute of Medicine to examine less burdensome alternatives to documentation requirements under Medicare for evaluation and management services.
    • Creates a scholarship program to complement the National Health Service Corps by offering federal matching funds to states that invest in health professional scholarship programs in which scholarship recipients must complete a service requirement in designated shortage areas. The bill would require that at least half of funding for the program support scholarships for providers pursuing primary care careers, but also would allow states the flexibility to use the other half of funding to address provider shortages in other specialties.

    Reps. Ruiz and Hinojosa first introduced the bill in the 113th Congress. The bill is the House companion to S. 1152, introduced in June 2013 by Senators Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).

    AAMC has endorsed the legislation.